January 29th, 2009
09:17 AM ET
7 months ago

Gingrey apologizes for Limbaugh criticism

Gingrey, with his family and President Bush in 2005, represents a conservative district of Georgia.
Gingrey, with his family and President Bush in 2005, represents a conservative district of Georgia.

(CNN) – Republican Rep. Phil Gingrey of Georgia apologized Wednesday for criticizing conservative hosts Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hanity, assuring his supporters that "I am one of you."

"I regret and apologize for the fact that my comments have offended and upset my fellow conservatives—that was not my intent," Gingrey said in a statement. "I am also sorry to see that my comments in defense of our Republican Leadership read much harsher than they actually were intended, but I recognize it is my responsibility to clarify my own comments."

The mea culpa comes one day after Gingrey appeared to take issue with Limbaugh's recent criticism of congressional Republicans. The conservative radio host said GOP leaders weren't adequately challenging President Obama on his proposed stimulus package.

"I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks," Gingrey told the Politico. "You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party."

The comments, published in a Politico story Tuesday afternoon, immediately prompted a flood of calls from aggrieved conservatives to Gingrey's congressional office, prompting the Georgia Republican to issue a clarification reasserting his conservative bona fides.

"As long as I am in the Congress, I will continue to fight for and defend our sacred values. I have actively opposed every bailout, every rebate check, every so called 'stimulus,' Gingrey said in the statement. "And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh."

Gingrey represents a conservative swath of Georgia stretching northwest of Atlanta to the Alabama border, and easily won reelection last November with close to 70 percent of the vote.

Still, many rank-and-file conservatives from both inside Gingrey's district and around the country openly expressed their dismay with the remarks, sparking concern within the congressman's office that the comments were being misinterpreted and could ultimately prove damaging.

"Those guys are some our biggest supporters, and we need them," Chris Jackson, a spokesman for Gingrey, told CNN of Limbaugh and Hannity.


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soundoff (658 Responses)
  1. KenM

    Good grief!!!! Why is Gingery's nose so brown!....and what is that putrid smell?....some foul mix of digested burritos and oxycontin!

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  2. Jim

    The Conservative Republicans are lemmings and will follow Rush and Sean right off the cliff.

    -A moderate Republican who voted for Obama.

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Michael in STL

    This is an act of cowardice by Gingrey to be apologizing to that ignorant Limbaugh idiot let alone that know nothing Hannity. I am surprised Billo didn't make a comment regarding this!

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. ralf

    I guess that makes Rush Limbaw the leader of the GOP. Isn't he a convicted felon? It's amazing how no one says much about that.

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. realist

    This guy needs to get a set and say what he means not what the party tells him to say. A sad day indeed

    January 28, 2009 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  6. K L

    Gingrey should be ashamed – as well as any Republican who looks up to Limbaugh or Hannity – the word "trader" comes to mind.

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  7. Jen

    Disappointing. Another Republican invertebrate who will do anything to keep his job in the echo chamber. Kudos to the real Republicans who stand up for conservative, practical values like Olympia Snowe. They are the future of the party, not dittoheads.

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. cj

    Looks like he is afraid of the that drug addict, Limbaugh

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  9. Once you vote Black

    Folks, this is Operation Chaos. Instead of tearing down the Dems and Obama in particular, The One now has Rush and the GOP in the Coco Butt slamming their heads together. Guess Rush never thought the Messiah, as he calls Big Daddy O, would have him attacking his own party. Obama even has Bennet defending him. Oh, this is delicious! The GOP is in the weeds for the next 40 years.

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. sam

    Gutless Wonder!

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  11. Mickye

    "I mean, it’s easy if you’re Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh or even sometimes Newt Gingrich to stand back and throw bricks," Gingrey told the Politico. "You don’t have to try to do what’s best for your people and your party."

    Shouldn't "County" be mentioned with 'your people & your party?'

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  12. Henry Wilson

    I was pleased to FINALLY see a southern, Republican representative challenge Hannity and Limbaugh. Mr. Gingrey is my Congressman and I was so proud to read that he seemed to have actually received the message that was sent on November 4, 2008. The large majority of Georgians and Americans are absolutely exhausted with the gridlock in Congress, which is directly traced to partisan positioning (see Congress' approval ratings for proof positive). People want action and quite frankly, could care less who gets / takes the credit. I wish Mr. Gingrey has shown the courage to stand behind his accurate original remarks, but alas, he apparently did not.

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  13. Al Ram

    Rep. Phil Gingrey are you nuts? Why do you have to apologize to those persons? Ok I know because to you those are gods. Not for me sir. Enough!!!

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  14. Jose Escobar

    How dare Gingrey question the infallible Hannity and Limbaugh! LOL. Morons, the whole lot of them. Keep following these de facto leaders of your party, see where it leads you. Why can't there be more level-headed republicans like Jindal. Sheez!

    January 28, 2009 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. NW

    Hey! The Georgia Peach himself!

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Jeff

    What a wimp to back away from what he said. How could anyone be afraid of such mindless blowhards. Shame on you Gingrey. Try to take of the dress next time.

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  17. Michael S

    Man, just when you were starting to be TRUE to yourself and constiuents, you sold you soul to the media. What a shame!

    You don't owe Rush, Hannity or any of the other loudmouths anything.

    You were right the first time buddy. Go back to the podium and apologize once again....for selling yourself short.

    What do you possible have to gain from being friends with ole Rush?

    You were so close to being a good person.

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. Rob Stumpf

    I want Obama's plans to fail too, because I think they would be destructive for the country in the long term. Trillion dollar deficits are bad. Socialist type bailout policies are bad. Weakness abroad is bad. Activist judges are bad. Quotas are bad. Unlimited abortion is bad, and so on.

    If anyone doesn't like it, tough. Boycott Rush, boycott me, whine all you want...who cares?

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Ted

    I second that Aaron.

    January 28th, 2009 3:39 pm ET

    "And on so many of these things, I see eye-to-eye with Rush Limbaugh."

    Really? He is asking to be ridiculed. My word Gingrey, grow a spine and question the windbags who are driving your party into the ground.

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Elfego Baca

    "Spineless."

    You mean Obama for calling out Limbaugh?
    Frighteningly revealing!

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Adriana RM

    lol.. Your biggest supporters ??? Are you kidding me ??? These guys are not what you want leading the Republican Party. That's if your not happy with current stake the Republicans have, however if your are then leave it alone.

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. Dick M

    Gingrey is a coward and the people who voted for him are too.

    January 28, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  23. Adam from Ohio

    So, when Rush opens his oxy-powered mouth and belches out a mixture of cigar smoke and instructions to his brainless minions, I guess those brainless minions have no choice but to follow suit. In this case, they were apparently beating down the door of a congressman who DARED to question EL RUSHBO.

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. Matt

    Spineless.

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  25. Linda32

    Punk. Listening to some because they are loud does not mean that they are the majority. Keep on making the same mistakes.....

    January 28, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
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